How To: Creating an Excel Risk Heatmap

Working in the various fields of education and technology, I’m constantly reminded that we need to be life long learners. In that spirit, I’m sharing something I learnt this week that solved a real world business need for me and hopefully is of use to the readers of this blog.

Example of a Heatmap I wanted to generate

Visualising Data

I’ve admitted before I’m a sucker for a great data visualisation, be that in Microsoft PowerBI or it’s longstanding predecessor: Microsoft Excel. In this case, I was really keen to try and create a risk assessment heat map that would allow me to easily manipulate data points on the heatmap as the risk changed over time. In particular, I wanted to use a visual that would ‘tell a story’ quickly for my bosses that were needing to absorb a lot of data very quickly and did not want to read a bunch of text bullet points that told that story.

Doing some digging online, there was a variety of different ways to achieve this but I wanted to keep it simple and easy to maintain (nod to this clip that eventually pointed me down this pathway).

Create Excel Risk Heatmap in 5minutes

Keeping with the theme that a picture tells a thousand words, here is my 5minute walk through video on creating the heatmap:

Download My Example

My example is super basic, but it may be all you need to get started yourself. To that end, here is my example created in the video for you to download if you choose:

The example heatmap I created in the video tutorial in less than five minutes

So there you have it – a very simple way to create a cool visualisation in Excel to tell a story about risk assessment on a heatmap. Trust this was useful for you!


  1. flamary Mr August 25, 2021
    • Sam McNeill August 25, 2021
  2. Mike October 28, 2021
    • Sam McNeill October 29, 2021
  3. Charlotte July 16, 2022

I am always keen to discuss what I've written and hear your ideas so leave a reply here...

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